Would you support a Citizen’s Assembly?

In the interest of keeping the EFB debate roughly tied to an EFB post, I post the question:

Would you support a citizen’s assembly, as proposed by the Greens, to help sort out the outstanding issues remaining around the EFB? In very rough terms, it would constitute a random selection of individuals from each electorate to come together and debate the issue, then formally present its recommendations to parliament. Here is an example of how the Canadians did it, and surprise-surprise, it was convened to discuss electoral reform! Your thoughts?

67 thoughts on “Would you support a Citizen’s Assembly?

  1. does our government have a structure? are its members selected in a specific way? does it follow certain procedures?
    then we have a constitution.
    saying we don’t have a constitution merely because you don’t see it written in a single document is like saying a person doesn’t exist because they don’t have a birth certificate.
    a constitution is a set of rules & conventions outlining the purpose, powers, structure & procedures of government, its relationship to the people etc.
    it is not by definition a set of laws which are harder to change than any other laws, though most of us agree that should be the case.
    because of this, some peoples have sought to use their constitutional documents to enshrine “ordinary” legislation, i.e. matters which don’t come under the definition of a constitution which i gave above. for an example of this, see the california constitution, where everything down to dog licencing laws can be found as constitutional ammendments. in my view, this abuse of a constitution undermines its authority. the short-lived ban on liquor in the united states is another example (but better at least than the entirely unconstitutional ban on other drugs). the south african clause against sexual discrimination would be another, along with the north korean one honouring the wisdom of the leader.
    the resource management act would fit into this category as well. on the other hand, a clause requiring & empowering the government to preserve the environment for future generations could fit into a constitution if general enough.

    kahikitea said: “First we would have to come up with a proposal or a choice of proposals to vote on in the referendum. I think a Citizen’s Assembly would be the best way to do that”

    yep, no reason why a referendum system could not operate within the bicameral legislature incorporating an ekklesia as i outlined above. preferably a dual-referendum as it was for the change to mmp.
    having the ekklesia or citizen’s assembly making decisions instead of the general public via referendum as alistair suggests is not good enough. it is for the proponents of an idea to carry the people with them. if we are effected by a decision we should have the say. if they can not persuade us, then they should spend more time & effort on it if they think it is that important. reports from bodies like the houses of parliament could certainly be useful in persuading the public, but it should be up to the public to decide.

  2. Greengeek : “If the Greens think it is necessary and desirable to prevent people who have money communicating their feelings about important electoral issues, what can we expect next? ”

    Have you studied the US electoral system at all? Do you have any idea how much it costs to get elected to the House of Representatives? How the vast majority of representatives are in the pockets of different private interests as a result? How miraculous it is if a few US politicians actually have guts and principles, considering how the electoral finance system militates against it?

    And this is what you want for NZ? Because that’s where we’re going, if the law stays as it is. Hasn’t been done like that before, sure (or not very much, yet), but that’s where entropy will take us.

    Be careful what you wish for.

    ====
    Some people seem to think that a Citizen’s Assembly would necessarily produce the same results as a referendum on any given subject. But that’s not how it works.

    People, in general, have a fair amount of common sense and wisdom. But not always an awful lot of knowledge about any particular subject. The point of a CA is to give people the time and information to use their wisdom and common sense to form considered opinions on a subject. Most likely, this will give a result which will be very different from an opinion poll.

  3. # andrew Says:
    December 5th, 2007 at 7:43 pm

    > kahikitea, thanks for your first post pointing out we have a constitution albeit not a written one, & as for your second post saying the complete opposite, wtf? or is there another kahikitea?

    I didn’t mean to imply that New Zealand has a constitution – I meant to say that in a country which has a constitution, it is only by convention that that document is recognised as being the constitution. Having said that, I have heard people argue that New Zealand has a constitution – either an unwritten one, or one that consists of several different documents, which may or may not include the Magna Carta and the Treaty of Waitangi, depending on your point of view. I figure it’s simpler to say we don’t have a constitution, in that no document seems to be accorded the mana of a constitution.

    >anyway, an act specifying a super-majority has no more force than a customary convention to that effect ,since later legislation always over-rides former legislation.

    … or a constitution that is considered, by customary convention, to be the constitution.

    > as i understood it the convention applied to all constitutional matters, though evidently there is some division over what constitutes constitutional matters, since you have also mentioned the resource management act.

    As far as I know, there is no agreed definition of what are or are not constitutional matters. The Resource Management Act is an example of something which one could argue should have that status, but in practice people argue for whateven they want in a constitution. South Africa has a statement prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in its constitution, and North Korea has a statement honouring the wisdom of Kim Il Sung in its constitution. Other countries don’t consider these to be constitutional issues.

    > anyway, giving the people the power to decide constitutional matters through binding referendum still sounds like a better opportunity than allowing the political parties to collude on taking our rights away as they did with the privy council issue.

    I agree that a referendum would be a good idea.

    First we would have to come up with a proposal or a choice of proposals to vote on in the referendum. I think a Citizen’s Assembly would be the best way to do that, though using a Royal Commission like we did with MMP seemed to work okay too.

  4. “the pen is mightier than the wallet.”

    great then perhaps the greens can write & deliver a personal letter to every voter for every tv/newspaper spread & anonymous glossy pamphlet campaign

  5. kahikitea, thanks for your first post pointing out we have a constitution albeit not a written one, & as for your second post saying the complete opposite, wtf? or is there another kahikitea?
    anyway, an act specifying a super-majority has no more force than a customary convention to that effect, since later legislation always over-rides former legislation. as i understood it the convention applied to all constitutional matters, though evidently there is some division over what constitutes constitutional matters, since you have also mentioned the resource management act.

    anyway, giving the people the power to decide constitutional matters through binding referendum still sounds like a better opportunity than allowing the political parties to collude on taking our rights away as they did with the privy council issue (yep national were formally in opposition at the time it passed, but wasn’t it their idea in the first place?)

  6. The idea of a citizens assembly having a chat about what fiddling little changes they might want to make to the ERB is laughable.

    At last John Key has found some balls, and his proclamation that National will repeal the ERB as soon as they are elected gives the populace all the forum they need to express their views about the ERB.

    In one fell stroke JK has dealt a death blow to Labour. (As if Mallard hadn’t already done so)

    The only remaining question is how far the Green vote will fall given the way they have fallen out of touch with the sentiments of the average NZer.

    If the Greens think it is necessary and desirable to prevent people who have money communicating their feelings about important electoral issues, what can we expect next?

    Perhaps a limitation on people using the English language during an election year?

    After all, the pen is mightier than the wallet.

  7. Well, we now know what the National Party thinks about a citizen’s assembly
    We also know what the Green Party thinks of free speech after voting to ensure that people who put personal views on teh internet MUST also put their name and address on it – then put up an SOP to review the law in two months because they dont like it, but will vote for it anyway so Labour can keep its anonymous donations that the Grens so strongly oppose

  8. BB said “(quote Toad) …but I’m not aware of any instance of her deliberately ignoring the law?

    Motorcade?

    No, BB. Helen Clark may have encouraged her driver and the Police to ignore the law so she could get to the rugby match on time. But the driver and the Police are the ones who actually did the deed, if she did actually encourage them. Civil servants, including Police, should tell politicians to get stuffed if they are asked by them to ignore the law.

    Whatever happened with that motorcade, those responsible for complying with the law, rather than the PM who may have asked them to bend it (and we don’t actually have evidence she did), are at law responsible for any excessive speed.

  9. >andrew Says:
    >December 5th, 2007 at 11:59 am

    >it used to be part of our constitution that constitutional changes required the approval of a super-majority of parliament, three quarters if i remember correctly

    There is no such thing as the constitution of New Zealand. That three quarters comes from the 1956 electoral act, which said that rules around the voting system could be changed by either a three-quarters majority in parliament, or a simple majority in a referendum. This is still the law, but it still only applies to the voting system. Maybe it should bve extended to other things like the Privy Council/Supreme Court issue, the Bill of Rights Act, the Electoral Finance Bill and the Resource Management Act.

    The thing that stops this is the need to get a 3/4 majority in parliament to pass a law requiring a three quarters majority to repeal something.

  10. bjchip Says:
    December 5th, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    >That’s only one of the problems but it is a whacking big one. There is no LAW that requires that the government follow the law. We have conventions and history and precedent, and none of it has the force of an actual Constitution with a check on the powers of the powers that be.

    Nonsense. Constitutions work on exactly the same principle – the government is expected to follow the constitution because there is a convention that every branch of government follows the constitution. If governments aren’t prepared to follow the law, there is no point in having a law saying they have to follow the law, because they won’t follow that law either.

    New Zealand is one of 3 countries with no written constitution, along with the UK and Israel. The political systems in these countries hardly stand out as being less stable or more corrupt than those in Fiji, Somalia, Iraq or Democratic Congo, all of which do have written constitutions.

  11. No, Helen may seek to change law she doesn’t like (that is what being a legislator is all about) but I’m not aware of any instance of her deliberately ignoring the law.

    I’d accept the pledge card may have come close to wilfull blindness to the law though. But even this is not nearly as bad as saying you are above the judiciary and the legislature and therefore entitled to completely ignore the law.

  12. Toad

    So Cheney is a bit like Helen Clark really, when she does not like a law she just ignores it or changes it to suit herself.

  13. davec,

    Im not in the Green party and I didnt vote for the Green party. What I was suggesting was that ‘independent body’ proposal served as the *equivalent* of a test drive (staying with your car analogy). With a car you can of course take it for a spin for half an hour, and among other things, test out the steering wheel. What you CAN’T do when a new law comes into force is sit back and block your ears and pretend that it always was, is, and always WILL be perfect.

    All I was trying to do was try to figure out the thinking on this, not indulge in some sort of cheerleading.

  14. Mind you, BJ, having a written Constitution doesn’t do much good in the US when the Executive (read Richard B Cheney) chooses to ignore it and the Congress chooses to not enforce it.

  15. Andrew

    What Constitution?

    That’s only one of the problems but it is a whacking big one. There is no LAW that requires that the government follow the law. We have conventions and history and precedent, and none of it has the force of an actual Constitution with a check on the powers of the powers that be.

    Writing a Constitution that incorporates the principles of the treaty, and enshrines them as law would give us some relief from the constant bickering over that issue as well.

    Not to mention making it impossible for the government to promote a simple bill to alter the manner in which the democratic process operates without actually getting the supermajority that realistically must attach to such a bill if it is to be fair.

    respectfully
    BJ

  16. it used to be part of our constitution that constitutional changes required the approval of a super-majority of parliament, three quarters if i remember correctly. when mmp was passed by a dual referendum, i assumed this was to be the new convention for settling constitutional matters, but instead we seem to have abandoned any limit on government to change the constitution at will, see for example the abolition of the privy council, no doubt the monarchy itself will go the same way if we let it.

    if we are to return to some sort of constitutional protection for the constitution, i would far rather take the dual referendum model than the citizens assembly one, i would hate to think that pushing a citizens assembly undermines our chances of firmly establishing a convention of having two referenda for constitutional change (one referendum not enough – need one to put the change on the agenda, commencing a fixed period of discussion & campaigning before the ulitmate referendum)

    the idea is far from novel, the ancient athenian democracy was governed by the ekklesia, a randomly selected body of citizens.

    i wouldn’t mind a bicameral parliament with a permanent ekklesia, not making the primary decisions, but with select committee participation & some sort of veto (perhaps the ability to force legislation to referendum) as well as the ability to draft & introduce a bill to be considered by the house of representatives.

  17. Fine, but I would say electoral law is a lot more complicated than that something so straight forward. If laws were so simple, we wouldnt need lawyers. I suppose one could consider such a proposal as a ‘test drive’.

    A good idea IN ITSELF.

  18. Stephen
    For the same reason that when you buy a car you dont take it back after two months to find out why the car is not as good as it could be because it has no steering wheel, you make sure the steering wheel is there before you buy it.

  19. Stuey

    Fair question, I would not support a return to the old system but I do not like what we have now, we have already seen that the minor parties have an influence that far exceeds their mandate.

    The main problem I have with MMP is the list MP’s, in any democratic system the public must have a way of getting rid of the people they do not like or want.
    What we have now is a joke, it does not matter how much the public turn against Clark she will be in the house after the next election and that is wrong.

    If we must have list MP’s then they should not be closed lists, at least that way the public can vote against the people they do not want in the house.

  20. Well its obviously contentious – they cant ignore that – so why WOULDNT one want an independent panel to review that law?

  21. Perhaps I`ll consider your request for comment on a citrizens assembly when you, or Russell consider my request as to why , if the EFB is so great and worthy of support, why do the Greens want an independant panel established within two months to review the law.

    I cant understand why the Greens are so hypocritical and unprincipled.

  22. Well, maybe there are other incompatible systems around too. I think the Aussies use STV, and they still have several parties…although they have a senate as well.

  23. BB, how come you can say that you want to see the Greens in parliament, but then you say that you want to see MMP repealed? Don’t you realise that the two are incompatible?

  24. The trouble with a royal commission or a Citizens assembly is that Labour will simply ignore it if the results do not suit them.

    Remember the Royal commission on electoral reform?, we were supposed have a referendum on MMP…that never happened.
    The Royal commission recommended that we do away with the racist Maori seats…..they remained.

    It sounds like a good idea but a Royal commision or a citizens assembly is simply a waste of money.

  25. Stuey

    “yeah right, that’s why you have taken every opportunity to attack us”

    That is utter rubbish, I have always disagreed with the Greens on the issues of Cannabis reform, “social justice”, the Treaty and climate change, I have also been consistent in my dislike of Sue B and Keith Locke.
    However that is about it, I am right behind the Greens when it comes to animal welfare (you need to do MUCH more here) inshore fishing and the environment.

    I have as much right to comment on Green issues as the next person, what I refuse to be is a cheerleader, if you have trouble dealing with that then so be it.
    My concern for the future of the Greens is real, if you think that the public will forgive you for supporting the EFB on the back of the S59 bill then you are sadly wrong, they may have forgiven you for one of those but they sure as hell will not forgive you for both.

  26. Frankly wouldn’t a Royal Commission be much simpler and likely more thorough? They have provided very good service in the past, including around the electoral system. Why reinvent the wheel?

  27. As DPF asks:

    “Are the Greens going to vote against extending the blog exemption to all personal political views on the Internet?”

  28. A few words from Waitakere City mayor Bob Harvey there in the Council Meeting of June 28 2006. The recommendation basically was that “the Chief Executive Officer report back to Council on the potential benefits to decision making from referenda, Citizens’ Juries and any other innovative public participation mechanisms”.

    Wonder what the Local Government Act 2002 does…Really, the Greens should be pushing this stuff a LOT more!!!

  29. Waitakere has long been a ground breaker in terms of strategic and outside the square thinking. We were this country’s first eco city and we are certainly leading the way in terms of partnerships with Maori and in many other initiatives. Waitakere residents are intelligent and very capable of making informed decisions. Are we ready and willing for Direct Democracy? I think we just might be. Certainly the way is clear in terms of the Local Government Act 2002 and we are only limited by a need to have a credible process that is seen to be fair.
    And so I would like to suggest Waitakere considers conducting referenda or going through the Citizens’ Jury process on matters of significant public interest. I am not indicating it’s a simple process – it isn’t. But I am saying the time is right. My personal feeling is that the people of Waitakere should take a more active role in three major projects a year. For example, over the past couple of years we could have canvassed more public opinion and consulted more widely on our Whenuapai commercial airport proposal or the use of the People’s Park and its future. And maybe we could have consulted at a deeper level on capital value before we announced we were looking at it as an option.

  30. It’d help our image some and it might help the electoral process too. I am not happy with the ERB… less unhappy than before but it buys an awful lot more trouble and complication than it needed to, and all because SOMEONE insisted that an election campain lasts a year. All the rest of the trouble follows.

    Hell… have the date of each election set at random with a 3 month length to the election and the statistics set up to yield a 3 year average term and a 1 year minimum. In other words, don’t let the ruling party pick the date. That’d help keep them from pushing bu11sh!t legislative agendas.

    respectfully
    BJ

  31. I would support that.

    Would you support allowing the National Party more than 55 minutes in the Committee of the Whole to discuss the failure of the EFB to fully exempt editorials from the definition of election advertisement, or the exempting of blogs and not of YouTube videos?

    You don’t have to respond, you don’t even have to pay attention, but at the very least you should have let them speak. 11 five minute speeches to discuss 19 clauses, 28 Government amendments and 17 National Party amendments. How on Earth are we supposed to consider that proper Parliamentary scrutiny?

    I can understand support for the EFB – I think it’s an improvement – but supporting the closure motion after 11 National speeches on the incredibly important Part 1 of the EFB shows a contempt for proper Parliamentary procedure, and a contempt for democracy.

  32. I think the point raised a couple of times that parliament is a citizens assembly is interesting. Is parliament a citizens assemble? I supposed you could suggest it is in some respects but definitely not in others. The members of parliament are employed full time as representatives.

    I would suggest that this would not be such a problem if we had two houses and each was looking at the others rules for being elected. We only have one house though so I feel that getting ordinary people to make a decision about what they think is the best system is a good idea.

    It comes down to what I feel democracy is about. Presenting people with balanced and accurate information and letting people choose. There is no correct solution but everyone’s choice is right in so far as much as it is their choice.

  33. >>Roman, we did think of this 4 months ago. Nobody listened.

    Well do something about it, then. Don’t vote for it.

    Everything else is hot air and you know it.

  34. Isn’t ‘pursuing their own agendas’ the reason we leave things to the politicians? Seeing as presumably we vote for those whose agendas we agree with.

    Even if we DID get to see the amendments, you would have to be one SERIOUS political junkie to want to look at and evaluate them all.

  35. The EFB is being placed before parliament with over 120 amendments after the select committee process. But we dont get to see the amendmends until they are voted for.

    Democratic?.

    Is that talking with everybody?

    How can the Greens even contemplate voting on a bill which in the last few hours has over 120 amendedments.

    Is parliament not the “Citizens’ Assembly”?

    What has happened is that political parties have hijacked parliament for their own agenda’s. (Labour and National)

    The Greens are in a perfect position to return parliament to the people by voting against the EFB.

    Will they have the courage?

    Or will they be lapdogs to the Labour party masters?

  36. frog:

    “To the best of my limited knowledge, we’re still talking to everybody.”

    Yea but are you listening to everybody?

    And are you acting upon what people are telling you?

  37. Roman, we did think of this 4 months ago. Nobody listened. Nor have we excluded anybody from any negotiations we initiated. To the best of my limited knowledge, we’re still talking to everybody.

  38. Too late.
    What a shame you didnt think of this 4 months ago. You exclued other parties, then when the worm started to turn, started the spin about how the others should join.
    Whilst this is nice, it just smacks of political expediency.
    Btw, if you are surprised at the passion this Bill has aroused it really shows the Greens know stuff all about “the people”.
    Some of your very very good ideals and goals have been tarred big time by this manipulative BACKROOM deal fiasco.
    The Greens, truly hollow democracy deniers.

  39. The master has spoken. So much for my unreliable source.

    Joy – go to the link that StephenR put in his post earlier. It’s a European take on the same process and is quit good. Speaking solely for myself, the idea of a referendum where the big money can spend lots of money to buy it through advertising, while trying to settle an issue about how big money controls elections is just a bit too weird. That’s why I like the CA concept. Gets it out to the people without too much interference from the big monied interests. Still, it could get bogged down in process like BeShakey says, if we’re not careful.

  40. Citizen’s Assembly. Thank you for explaining it in greater detail and for providing a link to the Canadian example. I had seen the CA idea mentioned but until now was unsure of its potential format.

    It would appear to have some value, most especially on these electoral and constitutional issues. Certainly a concept worth exploring. Sounds better than a simple referendum, which if poorly worded can be either an unfair or useless tool.

  41. BB: “Until today I have been a bit of a fan of Jeannette”

    yeah right, that’s why you have taken every opportunity to attack us.

    Honestly your repetitive “I would love to vote for the Greens”, “I would like the Greens to be in Parliament”, “I used to vote for the Greens”, “I used to have respect for you until” lines are completely unbelievable. With friends like you who needs enemies.

  42. Frogmaster

    Right, I consider myself told off, I guess I will have to think of another suitable name for that woman……. actually will “that woman” suffice?

    frogmaster: no, don’t bother making up any names for her, that is the whole point. stick to the issues and make no personal attacks no matter how funny or justified YOU think they are.

  43. big bro – I am told by an unreliable source that the automagic moderation is always looking for hidden sexual innuendo. Who would have guessed? The very long shot suggestion is that your use of the phrase ‘riding on’ might indeed be able to be misinterpreted. Clearly it was misinterpreted by this crazy software! Still, it keeps the pornography bots at bay and that is a good thing.

  44. big bro – what’s with you that you keep getting automagically moderated? Have you offended the WordPress or Akismet gods somewhere or sometime? It’s not like you’re swearing or ranting or over-linking or anything!

    frogmaster: it was his use of the word “Klark”. I added it because we don’t want an abusive locker room atmosphere to develop (any further than it has already).

  45. frog

    You do not have the luxury of waiting to see how this pans out, you may not agree with me but your (the Greens) political future is riding on this bill.

    Pull your support and you will be back in the house after the next election, keep being a patsy for Clarke and you will all be looking for jobs.

  46. Nice article StephenR. That’s the kind of thing we’re talking about and have been talking about all along. Unfortunately, Green suggestions don’t often get picked up by the media, so people like Nick C think it’s a last minute affair. Truly Nick, I have no idea how this is going to play out. We’ll both have to wait and see.

  47. Well done for proposing such a move but if Labour just ignore your call for a citizens assembley will you do anything about it, i.e. voting against the Bill? I would suggest not because you have already sold out to Labour in a backroom deal. Is this a genuine demand, or is it just a request to your masters in the Beehive which you know will be rejected to keep your reputation in tact. Meethinks the latter.

    Please prove me wrong.

  48. Remember that citizens assemblies are different to referendums. I think the value of it would depend on the details. In principle it is a good idea, but I can see it getting bogged down in process detail (how are people selected, what support do they get, what information do they get, what obligations do they have, what is done with their report, etc etc).

    On the referendum question, there has been some good work done looking at the NZ referendums in ’99 that is worth looking at. Referendums are often badly worded, badly considered, difficult to implement, don’t consider the broader picture, and are of course subject to the problem of the tyranny of the masses.

  49. Yeah, it is bloody complicated trying to keep track of all this stuff, and im sure there are an awful lot of confused or misinformed people out there. In both camps.

    Might have been good to have suggested the CA at the start of this whole sorry process too…

  50. If you are going to adopt this type of citizens assembly, you should go the whole hog and make the output subject to a binding referendum, as to whether it is implemented, (Rather than letting parliament walk all over it, should they desire),

    It is interesting to note that the BC-STV proposal failed in its referendum in 05( albeit by a small margin ) and they proposing having a second go in another vote in 2009.

  51. Too true StephenR, the politicians could still just ignore it. It’s just the principle of the politicians policing themselves that the Greens object to. Electoral Reform is one area where the elected representatives probably shouldn’t be passing laws about themselves, at least not without some sort of neutral body like a citizen’s assembly.

    As for the other bodies you mention, most of their concerns were taken into account with the new version, even if the drafting was done poorly. Articles like today’s Herald misrepresent the changes that were made, and continue to parrot the issues from the last version of the bill in order to whip up the general population or sell more papers. I’m not sure which. Either way, the Herald is now seriously misrepresenting things and ought to pull its head in.

  52. …by “their citizens” I mean a citizen’s assembly – why wouldn’t they just brush of their opinion like they did with the Human Rights Commission, Law Commission etc? What makes you think the formation of such a group would make everyone happy in this instance frog?

    The government havent listened to any of the independent bodies on this issue, just like with Section 59 where 70-80% of people were against it, but the legislation was STILL rammed through, just like with the EFB. If these politicians won’t listen, what would be the point of such an assembly, unless their powers were binding??

    In general, I certainly wouldnt mind taking some power away from politicians in some instances, and an Assembly would seem like an interesting way of doing so.

  53. Given they aren’t listening to the Human Rights Commission, the Electoral Commission, The Law Society, The Society Of Chartered Accountants, major media, and most established political commentators, what makes you think they’re going to listen to a bunch of randomly selected citizens?

    And why have a dog and bark yourself?

    Perhaps we should dispense with the pollys and decide everything by citizen’s assembly….

  54. Frog

    Until today I have been a bit of a fan of Jeannette’s, of course I do not agree with her when it comes to climate change but I did think she best represented what I like about the Greens and what made me once vote for them.

    Her patsy question in the house today disappointed me immensely, I refuse to believe that deep down she supports the corrupt EFB, to see her reduced to the level of asking patsy questions for Labour shows (for me anyway) that there must be some sort of back room deal done.

    As I have said before there is no other party in the house with as much to lose when the EFB is passed as the Greens, todays performance by Jeannette will have lost the Greens a lot of support.

  55. A citizen’s assembly sounds like a great idea, but isn’t that what we have already, causing the problem? clearly it didn’t work last time. Are we heading for an infinte series of citizen’s assemblies that spawn more citizen’s assemblies to validate themselves?

  56. SEVERAL bodies have already presented their proposals to Parliament and Labour etc have not listened to them, why would they listen to their citizens?

  57. Frog

    I have just seen Jeannette make the transformation from respected parliamentarian into a Labour party toady.

    She has hammered the final nail into the coffin of the Green party.

  58. After the diatribe in your last few posts that is a breath of fresh air. Wish I’d thought of it myself, but at least the greens didnt either. Better than a referendum but we dont really have any rules or laws around it. And I could see it becoming a gigantic feeding trough if used too often.

    We’re going to get a smacking referendum though.

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